988, the new nationwide number that anybody can call, text or message with a mental-health or substance-use crisis, went live this past Saturday. Trained crisis counselors assist callers to 988 and connect them with resources if needed. These resources include mobile crisis response, crisis stabilization units, and other community mental health supports in Mississippi.
The implementation of 988 and its coordination with other services present an opportunity to look at how all crisis services can be coordinated and most helpful to children and families. Families as Allies compiled this list of priorities based on our calls that we think are important for crisis supports to address and include.
For crisis supports to be as helpful as possible, we want to make sure that:
1. Any 988 planning or policy committees related to children and families include youth and families.
2. Primary care providers ( pediatricians, family practice doctors and nurse practitioners) have real-time access to crisis support for children and their families. Every child has a medical home where they get this support.
3. Schools have access to a range of crisis supports, including those to prevent a crisis from happening, and these supports focus on children staying in school and learning while getting the help they need.
4. Families have a wide range of supports to help their children at home to both prevent and address a crisis, and these supports are individualized and driven by what that family believes would be most helpful to them. That means coordinating crisis response services with wraparound care coordination consistently with state law and the values of high fidelity wraparound—and independent monitoring to ensure that’s happening.
5. Crisis response should include youth and parent peer support. Anyone responding to child and family crisis should have training in issues related to youth and families, including medical homes, school-based mental health, trauma-informed care, family-driven practice, wraparound and system of care.
6. Crisis response is coordinated and available across all systems serving children. We must address issues that should not be happening to children and youth, such as children in foster care spending nights in hotels, offices with caseworkers or detention (without charges) simply because there is no more appropriate placement for them.
7. If a child or youth does need to come out of their home due to a mental health crisis, then safe, home-like settings, such as therapeutic foster care with intensive wraparound care coordination, are considered first. For children/youth who need acute hospitalization, independent monitors should track and review the duration, outcomes, aftercare plans and satisfaction related to these hospitalizations.
8. The 988 implementation for children, youth and families should be overseen by and coordinated through the Interagency Coordinating Council for Children and Youth and the related groups designated in state law.
Please let us know what you think of our ideas and if there are other things you think should be considered. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-355-0915.
Here is more information about 988:
NAMI Mississippi celebrates availability of 988, a three-digit crisis hotline
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – SAMHSA
988 Suicide and Crisis Line ‘Soft Launch’ July 16
The Launch of the 988 Crisis Line
MDMH: 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline